The Disinherited: A Story of Family, Love and Betrayal
In the small hours of the morning of 3 June 1914, a woman and her husband were found dead in a sparsely furnished apartment in Paris. It was only when the identity of the couple was revealed in the English press a fortnight later that the full story emerged. The man, Henry Sackville-West, had shot himself minutes after the death of his wife from cancer; but Henry's suicidal despair had been driven equally by the failure of his claim to be the legitimate son of Lord Sackville and heir to Knole. The Disinherited reveals the secrets and lies at the heart of an English dynasty, unravelling the parallel lives of Henri's four illegitimate siblings: in particular his older sister, Victoria, who on becoming Lady Sackville and mistress of Knole, by marriage, consigned her brothers and sisters to lives of poverty and disappointment.
The Disinherited exposes the dark side of English history, as ancient wealth mixes with modern manners
A definitive account of a great house and family ... refreshingly told with much new detail, anecdote and scandal ... a gripping read, as good as a novel ... Remarkable Literary Review on Inheritance Astounding ... Mr Sackville-West writes with great panache ... Not a word is wasted and every page is full of interest A N Wilson, Country Life Witty, English and crisp, with a poetic lilt that not only makes one want to read about Knole (whatever one's views on aristocracy) but move in ... Gripping Sunday Telegraph Graceful and thoroughly researched Guardian It has the deep inward gaiety of some very old woman who has always been beautiful, who has had many lovers and seen many generations come and go, smiled wisely over their sorrows and their joys, and learnt an imperishable secret of tolerance and humour Vita Sackville-West
After studying History at Oxford University, Robert Sackville-West worked in publishing, founding Toucan Books in 1985, which creates illustrated non-fiction books for an international market. He now combines that with chairing Knole Estates, the property and investment company which runs the Sackville family's interests at Knole. In 2008, he and his wife and three children moved in the house, which has been occupied by the Sackville family for 400 years. The incredible history of Knole and the Sackville family, Inheritance, was published in 2010.